Text: CUINA MAGAZINE Photo: Anna García Frigola
Tender, tasty, healthy and ever so white
Gavà’s famed white asparagus has a fibrous texture and is characterised by its slightly bitter taste on the palate. Catalonia’s Baix Llobregat is the only area where this vegetable is grown due to the particular characteristics of the soils required, which are sandy and very compact, as well as the hotter climate during the harvest months. Asparagus goes well with many dishes and this variety is especially good with mayonnaise or bechamel sauce, as well as in a delicious creamed soup. Luckily they are readily available, especially in the markets of the metropolitan area, whether fresh, canned or bottled. When sold fresh, they are bunched according to size and quality.
Like most vegetables, asparagus is mainly water and best when fresh, as it provides excellent fibre and protein, as well as being a good source of antioxidants, such as vitamins C, E and beta-carotene, and it is also a good source of folic acid (B9) and B1, B2, B3 and B6. It has a high mineral content, with potassium, phosphorus, iron and iodine, and is great as a diuretic.
Asparagus differs from country to country, partly because of climate and soil, but also because of the different varieties and methods of cultivation. British asparagus tends to be green, while the popular variety in France is purple. Thanks to our climate we have a choice, but the secret to the white delight is that the plant is carefully grown below ground and picked just as it rises to meet the sun, ensuring the tenderness of it’s flesh and the balance of minerals and vitamins, which have never been exposed to the extremes of climate, guaranteeing their unique texture and flavour.